Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 26 - Upbringing of Children - The Parents’ Duty

Discourse 26 - Upbringing of Children - The Parents’ Duty

PrintE-mail

الحمد لله وكفى وسلام على عباده الذين اصطفى أما بعد

Women’s passion for Deen

Once, a few women presented themselves before Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and pleaded: “O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! The men get the opportunity to learn deen directly from you. They sit in your blessed company, ask questions, and perform their salaah behind you, etc., while these opportunities are not provided to us. O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Please make the necessary arrangements for us to acquire deen directly from you as well.”

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was extremely pleased with this request and instructed them to gather at a certain person’s house and imparted deen to them.

We understand from this incident that such requests presented by women are laudable and we should endeavour to sincerely fulfil them. During the era of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) acquired deen directly from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The womenfolk educated themselves by directing their questions to the pure and noble wives of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who would then refer the matter to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) if they did not know the correct answer.

It was the customary practice of the previous eras that the father would teach his daughters, a brother would teach his sister and a husband would teach his wife. This practice is still prevalent in a few areas, where the learned women teach the young girls of the locality. But, unfortunately, generally this system has been annihilated by the custom of sending young girls to school even after they have reached the age of maturity.

Educating our children

Nurturing and upbringing of children requires that they be taught the basics of deen, respect for parents and elders, etc., and not that they be sent to schools where the observance of purdah is non-existent, where the free-thinking mentality is rampant, where irreligiousness is part and parcel of the curriculum, where vile and despicable habits are nurtured, where truth is distorted and lies concocted, and where a host of other harms exist. It is incumbent that we make the correct arrangements to ensure that our children – and especially the womenfolk – study at home.

Schools are dens of vices, especially for girls. When the proper arrangements are made for them, they will then fulfil their responsibilities towards their parents and husbands, and live in this world with honour and respect by protecting their chastity. They will also progress monumentally in deen, and their offsprings will be pious and religious as well.

The need for educating our children starts at the very inception of their lives, from the time of birth. It is recorded in the hadeeth that when any child was born, it was bathed, cleaned and presented before Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who would recite the azaan and iqaamah in the ears and then perform tahneek. Tahneek entailed placing a khajoor (date) in the child’s mouth after it had been softened and moistened in the mubaarak mouth of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), so that the blessed saliva of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the sweet khajoor were the first and foremost parts to enter the mouth. This practice ensured that the child would be imbued with a sweet tongue and a jovial temperament. This was the general practice of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

When the child learnt to speak, the child was taught: لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له له الملك و له الحمد – laa ilaaha illallahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu lahul mulku wa lahul hamd – and thereafter, as the child grew older, the child was taught the necessary aspects of deen.

Children easily memorise what they hear uttered in their presence. Hence, if the parents read istighfaar, the kalimah, Durood Shareef, etc. regularly, the child will automatically memorise them as well, but if the child is accustomed to hearing vulgar and obscene words, then such words will be embedded in the child’s mind and abandoning such language, when the child becomes older, will become extremely difficult.

Moulana Yahya رحمة الله عليه memorising the Quraan

Hadhrat Moulana Yahya رحمة الله عليه, a saint of contemporary times, was taught a quarter sipara of the Quraan by the time he was weaned. This remarkable achievement was the result of listening and learning the Quraan at the hands of the young girls who looked after him. Instead of reciting fairy tales and stories of some fictitious characters, they would teach the Quraan to him and, by the age of seven, Moulana had memorised the entire Quraan Shareef. Thereafter, it was his daily practice to recite the entire Quraan Shareef before partaking of his meals.

Moulana would commence his recitation at fajr and complete it at the time of zuhr, and this practice continued for six months. The result of this was that the Quraan became entrenched in Moulana’s heart to such an extent that the need subsequently never arose for him to look into a Quraan.

It is imperative that we begin the training of children in their formative years so that on the Day of Qiyaamah, they will not lay a claim of negligence against us, in the court of Allah Ta‘ala, and say: “O Allah! Our parents had the utmost concern for our daily needs. They fed us, clothed us and, if we were sick, they made the necessary arrangements for our treatment. They perpetually strove to keep us happy but, O Allah! They did not teach us deen. O Allah! Ask them why?”

The parents will be taken to task for neglecting to fulfil this fundamental duty. Children are a trust and a favour from Allah Ta‘ala. It is binding upon us to uphold this trust and appreciate this favour, and the manner of accomplishing this is inculcating good character and pious actions in them.

In some areas, children are taught salaah by their mothers, elder sisters, aunts, grannies, etc., and the training is of such a nature that until they do not complete their salaah, they will not get their meals. Subsequently, when the women of the house transfer the importance of salaah to the children, they will develop a great enthusiasm for it and the importance of it will be embedded in their hearts.

Harms of incorrect education

But, if they are sent to school, there is a tendency to drift away from deen and ultimately their beliefs, character, morals and actions become corrupt and they become averse to the laws of Allah Ta‘ala and the noble sunnat of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Those children who are raised under the correct supervision of their parents, are imbued with the correct understanding of deen, good character and polite speech.

I was once addressing a group of women at a certain venue. The man of the house approached me and said: “My wife wishes to pose a question to you on condition that I must not be present.”

I declared: “You have the option of staying or leaving, but a few other males will remain with me.”

He agreed to this request and his wife, speaking from behind a curtain, began her questioning. She commenced by pointing out that she had forwarded this question to various other ulama, but received no satisfactory answer.

“I believe,” she started, “that whatever is contained in the Quraan is correct, but it is my opinion that it was not directly revealed from Allah Ta‘ala, but compiled by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and thereafter he, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), declared that it was from Allah Ta‘ala merely to pacify the people.”

Where did this drivel emanate? These types of thoughts and lopsided reasoning are the fruits of English secular education. The teachers in the secular schools are devoid of any understanding of deen and, combined with the secular school curriculum, the child is influenced to reason along these lines that the Quraan is not the divine word of Allah Ta‘ala, etc. Now, what is to be expected of the state of one’s Imaan? One of the fundamental beliefs of Islam is to unequivocally believe that the Quraan was revealed by Allah Ta‘ala and is the source of guidance for all.

“Tell me,” I asked. “Have you read the seerat (biography) of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?”

“Yes,” she instinctively replied. “I have read it in Urdu and English.”

“Then tell me,” I pointed out. “Did you come across in the seerat that two distinguishing qualities of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were his honesty and truthfulness?”

“Yes,” she admitted. “I have come across this many a times.”

“Then your question has been answered!”

“How? I do not understand,” she said, puzzled.

I then explained: “To claim that something was revealed by Allah Ta‘ala, but in reality was not, is dishonesty and an honest person will not make such a claim. An honest person will never hide that which was revealed to him no matter how beneficial or detrimental it may prove to be to the general people. If an honest son quotes his father, he will not attribute anything to his father that he thinks will benefit the listener without pointing out that he has added this statement from his own side.

“Similarly, to suggest that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had declared that the Quraan was revealed by Allah Ta‘ala, merely to pacify the people, is ludicrous because such an audacious claim will eventually be exposed. Your reasoning belittles the intellect of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because it concludes that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not consider the possibility that people will eventually realise that the Quraan was indeed not revealed by Allah Ta‘ala and the years of toiling and striving he had undertaken, to spread the message, will be rendered useless. Na`oozubillah! Not considering the final outcome of one’s actions depicts one’s level of intelligence, and intelligent people generally think about the end result of their words and actions.”

“Now I understand,” she said.

This woman had acquired English secular education! The point that I wish to draw your attention to is that if we are going to dispatch our daughters to secular schools, they will be indoctrinated with negative sentiments and ideologies about Islam. They will deny the revelation of the Quraan, the prophethood of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the existence of the malaa’ikah. They will opine that salaah, sajdah, ruku and other ibaadaat are dogmatic actions and they will not observe purdah, but dress immodestly, shamefully exposing their bodies. What will be the outcome of this? Utter ruination in this world and the hereafter!

A huge sum of money is spent on their tertiary education and, during their years of study, the parents spend lavishly on them to maintain their happiness. After they graduate, some find a job while others do not. And sometimes those who have a job cannot maintain their standard of living which they were accustomed to during their stay at the university, because the salary that they are earning is less than what used to be spent on them.

Freedom and gender equality

Another evil quality that college educated girls develop is the concept of ‘freedom from being dominated’ and that everyone is created equal. Hence, when they marry they are unprepared to live under the ‘yoke’ of their husbands. They will have an equal say in every affair of their married lives. How will it ever be possible for them to obey their husbands? It will be virtually impossible and, Allah Ta‘ala protect us, if the husband is also irreligious, the spouses will lead their own separate and free lives.

Conversely, if the husband is religiously inclined, that home will become a mini Jahannum due to the incompatibility of the spouses.

When a child is learning to speak, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has instructed us that the first thing we should teach the child is the kalimah and, as he grows older, the different aspects of deen need to be imparted to him. If the correct and proper deeni education is taught to the child then, Insha-Allah, the child will be saved from odious and corrupted ideologies; but if the child is reared in an incorrect environment, where no importance is attached to concepts such as purdah, good character, salaah, recitation of the Quraan, fasting, etc., then the child will be easily influenced by the negative sentiments and profane reasoning prevailing in today’s society to such an extent that the child will even deny the existence of Allah Ta‘ala!

We have frequently met youth who deny the existence of Allah Ta‘ala; and met fathers who complain that their sons are denying the existence of Allah Ta‘ala.

“Thanks be to Allah Ta‘ala?” the son asks sardonically. “There is no such thing. If He does exist then show me His whereabouts.”

This lamentable state is the direct result of their incorrect upbringing. It is binding upon the parents to fulfil the fundamental needs of their children; and of those needs, the primary need is their deeni education. Daily, a time should be set aside for teaching deen to them. If the parents do not discharge this responsibility, then the child will grow up to be a disobedient and disrespectful child and flagrantly trample upon the parents’ rights. “This is the era of freedom and equality,” he will say indignantly. “Parents and children are equal. Our parents are our peers. They do not command any authority over us!”

Correct rearing and nurturing of children is a great responsibility placed upon the parents.

The first madrasah

The first madrasah of the child is the mother’s lap. This is the initial stage of his education. The child will imitate the subconscious actions of the mother. Hence, if she utters ‘Alhamdulillah’ upon sneezing, the child will learn that one should say ‘Alhamdulillah’ after sneezing and, if she replies ‘Yarhamukallah’ in reply to one who says ‘Alhamdulillah’ after sneezing, the child will learn that as well. If the child observes the parents making salaam to one another, he will also become accustomed to making salaam to whomever he meets. The character displayed by the mother will be established in the child. If she utters foul and abusive words or speaks with gay abandon in every affair of life, the child will also be accustomed to speaking with a free tongue and not keeping a vigilant check on what he/she says.

Ironically, some parents become proud when their child uses vulgar language. This is not an aspect to be boastful of, but rather something to wail over. Children automatically inculcate the actions of their parents. They will imitate the actions of their seniors and, once these actions become habitual, it is extremely difficult for them to discard them. Therefore, the responsibility of the mother in nurturing the children is far greater.

If the child falls seriously ill – Allah Ta‘ala protect us – and the doctor prescribes a strict diet, then the entire household will adopt this diet to ensure that the child follows it. Otherwise, he will be admitted to a hospital where the prescribed diet can be followed. The parents invariably spend endless sleepless nights worrying and caring for the child, and even relatives and neighbours sympathise with the parents in their predicament and offer their assistance in caring for the child.

All this sympathy and concern is for a physical sickness; but if the child perpetually uses vulgar languages or perpetually tells lies, then there is a general apathy or unconcern at this behaviour, implying that we do not consider these to be incorrect or sinful actions, whereas they are in direct conflict with the injunctions of the Quraan and hadeeth! Why do we display such a hypocritical attitude in these affairs? Why do we have such a brazen indifference to these ‘sicknesses’? Our children will become good citizens and true assets to our community only if we rear and nurture them in the correct manner.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) accompanied his father for all the battles that he fought in. Hadhrat Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) used to make Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sit behind him on the horse and Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) used to cling on to his father’s waist for support. The reason that Hadhrat Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) took his son for jihad was that he desired to expel the fear of jihad from his son’s heart. The result of this was that Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) became noted for his extraordinary courage and valour on the battlefield. He feared absolutely nothing. This remarkable achievement came about because of the training and guidance he had received from an early childhood. That was the era of jihad being fought with horses, swords, and arrows. Hence, the children were taught to master the skills of that era. In the modern era, our children’s training will be to take them to the musjid.

Once, I was invited to a certain place and my host had a three or four year-old son. When the time for salaah had arrived, I told the boy, “Come! Let us go to the musjid.” He immediately took hold of my finger and accompanied me to the musjid.

“What is your opinion of this child?” another friend of mine queried. “He seems to be an obedient child,” I remarked. “He came with us to the musjid.”

“Once,” explained my friend, “this child’s grandfather was teaching and advising him in some matter when the child indignantly replied, ‘Stop talking and be silent! You are bothering me.’”

Surprisingly I asked, “Did he really say that?” My friend nodded in the affirmative.

I investigated this matter and found out that actually, these were the precise words that the very same grandfather had uttered to the boy’s grandmother when she had advised him on a certain matter. Accordingly, the child responded in a manner that he understood to be correct.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we restrain ourselves and speak respectfully in the presence of children.

The effects of us nurturing our children correctly

Our pious predecessors nurtured their children with good habits, excellent character and good etiquettes, which also produced a positive effect on the child. Once, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar’s (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) grandson was seated next to him when a visitor came to meet him and posed the following question: “What is the penalty for killing a mosquito?”

“Who are you and where did you come from?” Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) had lost his vision in both eyes at that time. The visitor introduced himself and revealed that he was from Iraq.

Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) told him: “You do not ask about the penalty for killing Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) grandson in the plains of Karbala, but you query about the penalty for killing a mosquito?” The visitor became infuriated and glared at Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma).

Hadhrat Abdullah’s (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) grandson upon witnessing this commented to his grandfather:

نظروا إليك بأعين محمرّة نظر الذليل إلى العزيز القاهر

They are staring at you with bloodshot eyes like how a disgraced inferior person will glare at his superior.

The grandson graphically captured the scene to his grandfather. This was the level of intelligence and discernment of children who were reared with the correct understanding of deen.

When Mahmood Ghaznawy came to India, he took a Hindu youngster and raised him in a princely manner. He taught him the royal etiquettes, the manner of addressing people, the way of conducting oneself in the royal court, etc. When this was accomplished, Hadhrat Ghaznawy crowned him as the royal prince. At this point, the youngster began crying. When questioned in this regard, he said: “My mother had always instilled the fear of Mahmood in my heart. The cruelty of Mahmood was continuously bandied around, such, that the children used to tremble at the very mention of his name. If only my mother was still alive, then I would have told her that Mahmood was not evil, but a kind person and he has raised me in a manner that they would not have been able to accomplish. This is why I am crying.”

Our pious predecessors imparted deen to their children practically. The children observed the manner in which they were leading their lives and learnt the correct etiquettes in every facet of life; the sunnat manner of eating (washing our hands before commencing to eat, reciting ‘Bismillah’ before eating, eating with the right hand, drinking with the right hand in three sips, eating small morsels of food, reciting ‘Alhamdulillah’ during the meals and after drinking, etc.), the sunnat manner of wearing our clothes and the masnoon du'aas to be recited on various occasions. In short, every feature of their lives was led according to the teachings of Islam. This is the very essence of rearing children and, if they are reared in this manner, then they will become the flag-bearers of deen and a source of guidance for all.

In contrast, if they are reared incorrectly, they will become a source of grief and sorrow for their parents. Numerous parents have complained to us about the insensitivity and downright arrogance displayed by their children. Their attitude and mannerisms are abhorrent. They do not desire to even talk to their parents, so much so that, if the father enters the home, the child leaves the house in order to avoid his company. If the child is raised correctly, then he/she will respect and honour his/her parents and consider them to be a boon from Allah Ta‘ala.

Incorrect upbringing of children will result in our detriment in this world and in the hereafter.

A certain youngster whose father is my friend, developed the habit of stealing and pilfering. When he was caught and imprisoned, his father announced that his son had passed away in order to protect his honour.

Once, I asked a person whether he had attended to his children’s education.

“What can I do?” he wailed. “They have developed such bad habits that I am even prepared to pay 100 000 rupees to someone just to take them away from my sight.”

This is the lamentable plight of today’s children. These very children, who were supposed to be the comfort of our eyes, have become the source of our grief and sorrow and, if we analyse this situation objectively, we will realise that the fault invariably lies at our feet. If they were brought up in the correct deeni environment, they will naturally respect and honour their parents and the parents as well will be compassionate towards them. Life will be pleasant and trouble-free for everyone concerned.

But alas! We have not heeded the warnings of our pious elders and our homes have been transformed into hellfire! When the parents and the children have enmity for each other, the resultant condition is the utter destruction of the family structure. The father expels the son from the home and instructs every family member to sever ties with him.

But the mother, because of her natural undying love for her child, secretly arranges for the son to visit them when the father is not around. Thus, the entire family structure is in tatters because of the incorrect upbringing of the children.

If a warrant of arrest is issued – Allah Ta‘ala forbid! – and the child is thereafter incarcerated, how concerned do we not become over this child’s plight? Every family member, relative, neighbour and friend will endeavour to seek the child’s release from imprisonment. But when this very same child develops evil habits, then why is it that no one even blinks an eyelid at his actions? Whereas the term of imprisonment for this crime is the fire of Jahannum! Our primary concern should be to save our children from the fire of Jahannum and, to achieve this, we need to communicate with them and advise them with compassion and wisdom.

It is reported in a hadeeth that when the child reaches the age of adolescence, he or she should be treated like a smaller brother or sister. They should not be berated publicly or even within the confines of the home and, when the child reaches a marriageable age, then the parents must make the arrangements for their marriage.

Thereafter, they should address him saying: “O my child! Whatever rights you have over us, we have fulfilled it to the best of our ability. Now you are married. May Allah Ta‘ala save us from the fitnah which may emanate from you.”

With regard to the relationship between siblings, the hadeeth explicitly states that the elder brother enjoys the status of the father. These concepts have to be instilled in the lives of our children. If the correct Islamic ethos is not inculcated in our children, it will result in the destruction and disgrace of the family honour which existed for decades and, resultantly, the parents become ashamed of presenting themselves in society because of their children’s actions.

A person does not unnecessarily amputate a troublesome or infected limb. Similarly, the father cannot excommunicate his son or daughter, but how does he interact with his child in a humane manner? How does he exercise patience with these conflicting conditions? All these types of problems are the direct result of incorrect education and nurturing. May Allah Ta‘ala grant us all the taufeeq to bring up our children correctly. Aameen.

Al-Haadi - Site Map